Canada’s metal scene is currently heaving and thriving, and the local death-thrash outfit called Fallen Legion is a shining example of just how hard and heavy Canadians like their metal. Combining vicious screaming vocals, fast-paced riffs and a dark melodic presence, Fallen Legion are steadfastly dedicated to making music that is unmistakeably and uniquely identifiable. Formed in 2007, the band was initially named Menzrea before a name change to Entropy in 2008. After the release of their impressive thrash-death single called ‘Nahemah’ in 2009, they settled on the name Fallen Legion. Consisting of Nick Sauter on guitar, Jon Kal on bass, Dylan Waybrant on drums and Josh Masterson on vocals, they make a lot of noise for just four guys.
Fallen Legion have proven themselves to be an aggressive force in the metal community – especially in their home city of Oshawa in Ontario, Canada. They have made themselves known through relentless touring supporting a range of international acts including Soilwork and 36 Crazyfists, earning themselves a loyal and steadily growing fan-base. The band have already released two blisteringly heavy and wrathful EP’s; ‘Screams from the Dungeon’ in 2013 and ‘Infinite Archives’ in 2016; and their newest heavy EP out on the 18th of May this year called ‘Downfall’ is taking no prisoners. We managed to get a copy of the EP a week early, and boy is it an excellent listen.
Cipher opens the album with an oddly uplifting little instrumental that builds in a strange and almost whimsical way. This gives nothing away about the rest of the album, making the next song a brutal surprise.
Escapegoat has a far more streamlined feel in comparison to their previous work, wasting no time in throwing a mix of spoken vocals and screams backed by deftly rolling basslines by Kal and guitar riffs that take an impressive foray into groove metal territory, made stunningly intense by Waybrant’s speedy drumming. The breakdown in this song has more of an old Fallen Legion sound, but it feels like the band has found a brand-new energy and gumption with this new EP. The band play around more with off-beat riffs and a more modern sound that is a departure from their messy, dirty thrash roots; but the change in sound really does suit them. Escapegoat is a clever play on words, made all the more piercing by the lyrics that confront the cowardice of a person who pushes the blame onto another weaker person in order to avoid dealing with the consequences of their own actions.
Injection brings a more sinister vibe, with Masterson employing deeper growls in the chorus before combining his trademark higher screams with back-up singing in the chorus to satisfying effect. This song is a terrifyingly confident fusion of dark, almost blues style death metal and spritely thrash with a hint of modern metalcore that makes for one hell of a unique piece of work.
Next is their latest single called Way Out, featuring dissonant chords and creative riffs, courtesy of Sauter’s prowess on guitar. This song crams a lot of different elements into one song yet again, packing numerous vocal styles, drum patterns and a lot of genre-hopping that almost feels overwhelming but somehow still so damn good to listen to.
Monster Reborn begins with curious softness, before delving into a beautifully constructed guitar riff and vocals that lyrically pursue the overwhelming and destructive effects of letting guilt build up inside the mind. Again it can be heard that Fallen Legion are definitely having fun musically, playing around again with almost prog-metal sounding riffs and drum patterns but with an intensely heavy drive.
Closing the album is New Skin, most notably featuring their fellow Oshawan musician Lindsay Stonecraft from Cradle of Filth on keyboard and backing vocals. The combination of Masterson’s screams and Stonecraft’s smooth cleans is fantastic to listen to in the chorus, especially when held in contrast to the extreme speed and passion of the verses. Her atmospheric keyboard effects lend an even murkier vibe to the song, making for a truly impressive finish to an absolutely phenomenal EP from Fallen Legion.
Coming from their previous EP, ‘Infinite Archives’, ‘Downfall’ is a huge change of sound and intent for Fallen Legion. Long-standing fans may find themselves a bit put-out by the change, but I encourage those people to approach ‘Downfall’ with an open mind and heart. This EP is by far one of the most impressive and memorable collection of songs I’ve heard this year and I have found a new band to keep my eye on.
Fallen Legion have proven their aggression, established their fluidity in the metal genres and now I just cannot wait to see how they progress as a band over the coming years.
FALLEN LEGION’S ‘DOWNFALL’ WILL BE OUT MAY 18TH. PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY HERE